Attention SoMa residents: This Thursday the Complete Neighborhood Fabric Committee, a division of the Western SoMa Taskforce which despite its name is not in charge of rationing yards of houndstooth and paisley, will be holding a meeting to determine the definition of art. Well, sort of. The discussion will thankfully limit itself to the role of art-related activity in relation to PDR jobs.

What’s PDR? Well no one seems to know exactly what it is anymore, but the accepted acronym stands for production (making things), distribution (selling things wholesale), and repair (fixing your car) – otherwise collectively known as light industry. Since the Planning Department started including the arts (vaguely defined) in its definition, it has been pretty easy for building owners and developers to comply with the city’s  PDR “loss and replacement policy.”  In short, this loophole makes it possible for something like a video production company or other tech office to replace auto repair shops and metal fabrication studios.

While it’s arguable that these industries are something like a PDR 2.0, many people think they go against the spirit of the policy and contribute to driving light industry out of the city. Thursday’s meeting will frame this discussion by looking at how two case-studies –an adaptive reuse project and a new construction project– might affect the alleyways of Western SoMa. The committee will also review recommendations for the construction of a two-unit building at 49 Grace Alley (pictured). The proposed structure includes multiple floors of the loosely-definite “arts-related” space and a “coffee window” – the increasingly ubiquitous urban fenestration of San Francisco.

So stop on by, have your voice heard, and help shape the new definition of Production, Distribution, and Repair.  Or just complain about coffee windows.

To recap:
Complete Neighborhood Fabric Committee
Thursday, March 12 2009 at 6:00pm
Room 421 City Hall

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